Pet food delivery has become a modern-day luxury, one that’s made internet companies such as Chewy a pet-household name. In addition to national firms, local businesses are also allowing pet owners to enjoy gourmet pet foods and wellness products delivered to their doorsteps.
Seasoned pet parents Dave and Betsy Head of Family Dog Naturals, at 1120 E. Cutlar Crossing Suite 200 in The Villages at Brunswick Forest, offer treats, vitamins, healthy foods and an assortment of wholesome pet products to both in-store and athome clientele.
Along with fan favorites like Stella & Chewy’s, Zignature and Nutri-Source, customers can discover new and nutritious foods from an ample selection of natural brands.
In the treat department, choose from soft, dehydrated and crunchy treats like vegetable chips or sweet potato chews. If your pup’s got allergies, Family Dog Naturals has options; puppies and seniors enjoy grazing there too.
The Heads carry a wide variety of chews, known to keep dogs occupied, promote healthy teeth and gums and help pups “let off steam” – kind of like a canine fidget toy. A dog’s urge to chew in instinctual, said Dave Head, and all-natural choices allow dogs to safely immerse themselves in the task.
Made from grass-fed, free-range cattle from both New Zealand and the United States, Family Dog Naturals chews are 100% digestible. Bully sticks, Earth Animal No-Hides, raw beef and buffalo marrow bones, dried duck feet, beef tendons and naturally shed antler chews are among the options.
“We strive to be, above all else, concerned with the well-being and comfort of both animal and caretakers,” said Dave Head.
Treating pets as family is a core value, and business philosophy hinges on “good for the goose, good for the gander.” “If it doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t,” Dave Head said, referring to some ingredients in the dog food market.
“Trust your gut. Dogs and cats are people too,” he said, of his own furry family members, “so we need to feed and care for them as such.”
Well-versed in ingredients and animal dietary needs, shop owners and staff weigh in on product ingredients and training tips to help pet owners better understand nutrition and lifestyle needs. “We’re committed to our customers and their animals, and we spend the time to get to know them,” Dave Head said. “That way, we’re able to share valuable information and direct them toward the right choices for their furry companions.”
Predictably, there are a myriad of choices when it comes to dog food. Raw foods strive to resemble the protein-rich diets dogs consume in the wild and contain fewer additives than in other types of foods; raw foods also contain natural flavors of real foods. Wet foods, said Dave Head, are also rich in water, which helps dogs stay hydrated and find a balanced diet.
With similar benefits to raw food, freeze-dried options check a lot of boxes – vitamins, minerals and proteins.
In the dry kibble department, Family Dog Naturals stocks a variety of textures and tastes, as well as breed-specific blends and diet choices catering to differing levels of dog activity.
And because processed foods are cooked at very high temperatures, according to Dave Head, dog and cat diets should always include quality vitamins and supplements to promote strong bones, facilitate muscle growth and aid digestion.
Family Dog Naturals knows cats, too, and their philosophy – as well as product line – also applies to feline friends. Cats are true carnivores, said Dave Head, and they thrive on meat. With benefits to dry, wet, freezedried and dehydrated food, consulting with staff can help customers design the right diet for a particular style of indoor or outdoor cat.
In addition to quality foods, the business offers natural remedies, one-on-one consulting and colorful leashes and collars. Betsy Head has been in the wellness and nutrition industry for over 20 years, while Dave Head is a seasoned retail specialist. Together, the Heads bring more than 45 years of customer service to the counter.
“We encourage people to do their own research when it comes to what they put in, and on, their animals,” said Betsy Head.
For example, some flea and tick preventatives on the market contain a pesticide, Dave Head said.
“I wouldn’t ingest pesticide, so I won’t put it on or in my dog or cat. Dogs and cats have every organ in their body that humans have – blood, eyes, lungs, skin, hair, etc. The more living, healthy food you can feed them, the better,” he said. “You are what you eat.”
Once you’ve chosen the week’s or month’s order, Family Dog Naturals brings it to your door. In-store customers travel from Calabash, Hampstead and everywhere in between to visit with staff and enjoy the selection, but delivery options are always on the menu.
“We’d always delivered if folks needed us to, even before the pandemic,” said Dave Head. “Sometimes people just can’t get out. If they’re supporting us, then then we’ll be here for them.” He’s even stopped at the grocery store and picked up other things customers might need.
For most deliveries, customers provide one to two days’ advance notice, though local delivery to Leland and Wilmington may be faster. Ask about Frequent Buyer Programs and samples of various foods, treats and supplements, because, as Dave Head said, “We’re big on ‘try before you buy.’”